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Iraq Says Oil Trade With Iran Will Begin Soon

Iraq and Iran have agreed to swap up to 60,000 bpd of crude.Iraq and Iran have agreed to swap up to 60,000 bpd of crude.

Iraq will start exporting oil from the northern Kirkuk fields to Iran before the end of January, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad on Sunday.

About 30,000 barrels per day of crude will be trucked to Iran’s Kermanshah Refinery in the first instance, he said.

"God willing, we will start before the end of the month," he added, Reuters reported.

Trucking crude to Iran comes under a swap agreement announced last month by the two countries to allow a resumption of oil exports from Kirkuk.

Iraq and Iran have agreed to swap up to 60,000 barrels per day of crude produced from Kirkuk for Iranian oil to be delivered to southern Iraq, Luaibi said last month.

Kirkuk crude sales have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields from the Kurds in October.

Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk in 2014, when the Iraqi Army collapsed in the face of the onslaught of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group. The Kurdish move prevented the militants from seizing the region’s oilfields.

Iraq and Iran are also planning to build a pipeline to carry the oil from Kirkuk to avoid having to truck the crude, Luaibi said last month.

The planned pipeline could replace the existing export route from Kirkuk via Turkey and the Mediterranean.

Late last year, Iran resumed swapping crude oil from the Caspian Sea in the north to customers in the Persian Gulf after operations came to a halt seven years ago following tighter economic curbs imposed against Tehran over its nuclear program.

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